February 21, 2013 11:00 AM

This sweet face reminds me it’s all worthwhile

Thanks for welcoming Poppy Montgomery!

Best known for starring as Samantha Spade on Without a Trace, she’ll be back as Det. Carrie Wells on the second season of Unforgettable, returning to CBS this summer.

In addition to her acting work, Montgomery is also producing a show, Sworn to Silence, for Lifetime.

Montgomery is mom to son Jackson Phillip Deveraux, 5, and is expecting her second child this spring.

She can be found on Twitter @PoppyMontgomery.

In her latest blog, the actress offers a funny take on why pregnancy has become “an endless list of ‘can’ts’ and ‘don’ts.'”

I was watching a movie the other night set in the ’60s. There was a woman sitting at the bar. She was heavily pregnant, smoking a cigarette and enjoying a martini. She looked … well, glamorous and relaxed.

I am sitting here heavily pregnant … and that’s where the similarity to the woman in the bar ends. I don’t look glamorous at all. I am not smoking a cigarette and certainly not enjoying any martinis lately … quite the contrary. This is 2013, not 1960 and even though my mother did it — and her mother before her — in today’s world I am forbidden to partake of or indulge in just about everything I find enjoyable.

From sushi to soft cheese and deli meat to caffeine … forget the martini!

Why has pregnancy become such an endless list of “cant’s” and “don’ts” subject to private and public scrutiny for nine (actually 10, but who’s counting?!) months, in the belief that anything less than total abstinence of all vices is negligent and irresponsible?

“Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside.” – Rita Rudner

To add insult to injury, I cry. A lot. Ridiculously and easily.

Last weekend, Jackson and I were driving home and I saw a dead deer in the road. I started bawling. Embarrassing, uncontrollable sobs choking me as I clung to the steering wheel. Tears welling up and rolling down my cheeks so fast I could hardly see. Jackson was staring at me, mystified and speechless.

Despite his concern and my ridiculously glistening and wracked appearance, all I could think of was that poor, innocent deer lying dead on the side of the road and its baby waiting in the trees for Mummy to come back. I was beside myself.

As we got closer, I realized the (dead) deer that I had worked myself into such frenzy over was nothing but a pile of leaves blown up against a rock. With a flip of a coin, everything was fine again. A smile playing lightly on my lips I broke into a hummy little rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.” Jackson joined in and we drove home as if nothing had happened.

Hormones? Temporary insanity? Self-flagellation? No raw fish? You tell me!

“Of course I can do this. I’m pregnant, not brain-damaged. My condition doesn’t change my personality.” – Christina Feehan, Ruthless Game

Am I so large that I need a razor on a stick to shave my legs? Good lord, no (or not yet)! The very thought makes cry. Everything makes me cry.

The other day I started crying on the phone with the bakery shop assistant because the cupcakes I had ordered (the ones I pretend I bake for Jackson’s school) were not going to arrive on the day they were supposed to — and I had paid extra for fast delivery!

I sobbed on the phone to this poor young man about my bad back, my cankles and how all I wanted was some sushi, a nice soft cheese and a bowl of sugary Froot Loops (but with almond milk because I have developed a pregnancy allergy to dairy).

I told him that I thought my teeth were going to fall out from lack of calcium and I wailed about my lack of sleep and bizarre dreams.

I ranted about my new obsession with the scent of eucalyptus oil and the desire to pour hot sauce over everything I eat (I hate hot sauce!) and how the smell of cooked meat makes me gag.

When I asked him if he was married and had children and he said no, I cried even harder. When he asked me if I needed him to call an ambulance, I shouted at him and told him I wasn’t ill — I was simply pregnant!

The kind, sweet bakery shop assistant listened, bless him, to all of it. The rambling outpourings of a hysterical, hormonal, semi-deranged, pregnant psychopath. Finally, I blew my nose loudly, popped a candy into my mouth and thanked him for his time. I promptly hung up and sent him flowers.

A touch over the top? Probably. However, the cupcakes did arrive later that afternoon just in time for Jackson’s bake sale. And, like turning a page, everything was back to normal. I resumed humming “You Are My Sunshine” and reflected on how lucky it was that Jackson was at school and not around to witness the clear evidence of his mother’s absurd and irrational mental state.

Jackson keeping me motivated!

“Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.” – Saint Augustine

Why is everything I crave on the “no” list?

My cravings are as follows:

– Sushi
– Stinky Brie cheese
– Margaritas (with extra salt)
– Tuna
– Shellfish
– Caffeine
– Anything sugary, fatty, processed … If I could deep-fry Twinkies for breakfast, I would … but alas, Hostess went out of business (and yes, I cried over that too!).

On the “no” list? …


Early in my pregnancy, after weeks of abstaining from most of the foods I crave, I was miserable and losing my mind.

I had just been to Paris for the very first time on a work trip, and as I walked through Saint-Germain, everywhere I turned was a street café displaying heaping piles of oysters and shellfish on ice. Don’t even get me started on the gorgeous cheese plates, endless champagne, foie gras and steak tartare that I reluctantly declined, all in the name of pregnancy.

When I arrived back in the U.S. at a full three months pregnant, craving dreams plagued me — little pieces of sushi talked to me in my sleep. Oysters lined up and did the samba. But it was the dancing, mariachi-singing margarita calling my name that pushed me over the edge and sent me flying to the phone early one morning to call my mother (crying of course)!

My mother had many philosophies as we were growing up. Moderation in all things, for one, including moderation itself. She explained to me on the phone (as I ranted about talking sushi and dancing cocktails) that while moderation eliminates extremes, it can also become recursive, and that we should moderate how we moderate and not become too worried about moderating everything.

After this incredibly confusing advice, she concluded with: Listen to your body, follow your instincts, happiness is healthiness and always maintain your dignity.

With my mother’s words ringing in my ears I decided to turn my frown upside down and relaxed a little.

I am fully committed to doing things “right” — I exercise with as much dignity as my newly-acquired shape will allow, I chew through countless plates of raw vegetables and trail mix, I don’t stay out late and I have, of course, given up my beloved margaritas (no matter how often they sing to me).

I do yoga and attempt stress control — BUT (still listening to my body) I rise each morning from my cramped sleeping position and off-balance hormones, and even though it’s on the “no” list, I allow myself a coffee. A GOOD coffee. Imported from France.

I allow myself the occasional Big Mac with super-size fries (heavenly!) because it makes me HAPPY. And there is an important piece of pregnancy that sometimes gets lost in all the stress of “cant’s” and “don’ts”: Be happy, and allow ourselves enjoyment during this miraculous time.

Stress and anxiety have created many more health problems than a stinky, runny cheese and a good cup of coffee.

In conclusion, I lift a tiny glass of chilled rosé to all mothers and mothers-to-be out there! To fat, to water-balloon feet, to having to pee every five seconds, to the heartburn, the charley horses and the restless legs, to bizarrely vivid dreams and of course, to those tiny heels that jab under the diaphragm.

May Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth and labor pains, be always on our side!

— Poppy Montgomery

P.S. I am finally on Twitter! Please follow me @PoppyMontgomery.

More from Poppy’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

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